Law News
Plaintiff, lawyer’s absence stalls anti-Buhari inauguration suit

The suit filed before a Federal High Court in Abuja to stop the inauguration of the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, as the President, came up on Wednesday but neither the representative of the plaintiff nor its counsel showed up.

The suit was filed on Tuesday by a non-governmental organisation, Advocacy for Societal Rights Advancement and Development Initiative.

With an affidavit of urgency filed along with the plaintiff’s application for interim injunction, the matter was assigned to Justice Ahmed Mohammed, and was listed for hearing on Wednesday.

The matter was mentioned three times on Wednesday within intervals of two hours in between successive stand-downs, but neither a representative of the plaintiff or its lawyer who filed the suit on its behalf, Mr. Philip Ekpo, was present in court

Though the application filed by the plaintiff was an ex parte, Buhari was represented in court by a Senior Advocate of Nigerian, Lateef Fagbemi, who remained within the court premises until the court rose.

Justice Mohammed also disclosed that none of the court processes, including the originating summons, had been served on the respondents in the suit.

It could not be ascertained if a new date had been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

Buhari, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, are the 1st to 3rd respondents in the suit respectively.

The plaintiff is seeking an order restraining the CJN from swearing in Buhari as President on Friday, May 29.

The suit also seeks an order nullifying the certificate of return issued to Buhari by INEC.

The plaintiff hinged the suit on the allegation that Buhari did not qualify to contest the presidential election on the grounds that he gave false information about his academic qualification to INEC.

Between January and February 2015 there were about 10 cases instituted by various plaintiffs challenging Buhari’s eligibility to stand for the poll on the grounds of his academic qualification controversy. But after he won, the cases were withdrawn.

In the fresh suit filed by its lawyer, Ekpo, the group alleged that Buhari did not meet the qualification enshrined in the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act to stand for the March 28, 2015 presidential election.

The plaintiff is seeking an order of interim injunction restraining the CJN “or any person acting in his capacity” from swearing in Buhari as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on May 29, 2015 or any other date thereof pending the determination of the Motion on Notice.

The plaintiff seeks among other orders, “A declaration that the 3rd defendant be stopped from swearing in the 1st defendant as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as the issue of perjury involving the 1st Defendant has not been resolved.

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